Thursday, February 16, 2006

Through the Roof

The opening line of this week's gospel reading is very curious. It says, "When he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home" (emphasis added).

I've never thought of Jesus as having a home during the time of his ministry, and this story in particular I've always thought to have taken place in Peter's home. Yet there it is. The New Jerusalem translation won't believe it, and translates this phrase as "he was in the house", but Mark 3:19 also talks about Jesus going home, and Matthew 4:13 says he made his home in Capernaum.

John's gospel, as always, offers a more enticing and less direct look at this. In John 1:38, Andrew and "the other disciple" ask Jesus, "Where are you staying?" Jesus answers, "Come and see."

Now you may be wondering, why am I laboring this point? Surely, Jesus was constantly traveling during his ministry and where his home was is little more than trivia, right? But there's a certain symbolic significance to where Jesus' home is. John's gospel points to this. Where Jesus is staying (abiding), there is the kingdom of heaven.

So this gives a little extra something to Mark's mention that "he was at home." In Mark 1:10 we heard that when Jesus was baptized "he saw the heavens torn apart" and the Spirit descended. Now, in the story that follows, people seeking Jesus dig through the roof to get to him. It's an interesting parallel.

We often talk about Jesus' Incarnation in terms of the kingdom of heaven "breaking in" and there's no better picture of that than the heavens being "torn apart" at his baptism. But in this Sunday's reading from Mark's gospel, we get another picture of the kingdom of heaven "breaking in" only this time it is people coming to Jesus.


LutheranChik said...

Ooh, I love that parallel between the heavens being torn open and the roof being torn open. And in awhile we'll have the curtain in the Temple torn open...

Andy said...

Yeah, Mark's got some pretty nice hooks. I think it's a very underrated gospel.